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Album InterviewsInterviews

Interview with Luke Ashley (Orpheus Omega)

(Mitch Charlton) Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with me, it’s been a couple of years since our last chat, you had just released Career Suicide with Triple Kill, you’re now going on tour with them, any chance some of those covers will make the live set?
(Luke Ashley) Hey mate, it's our pleasure! We want to make every show feel like a unique experience so we're pulling out some new covers for this tour alongside our latest EP.

(MC) Triple Kill have been known to have a joke or two, create some pretty damn funny content, can we expect some tour antics when teaming up with Orpheus?
(LA) Absolutely not. I still haven't recovered from the last AirBnB we shared together, it was a total party wipe. This time it's all death & taxes.

(MC)With the upcoming Questfest in Sept, I’m hoping that there’s some stage outfit ideas already in the works, any hints the fans can have for the show?
(LA)Look, all I'm gonna say is we were forged in the fires of Cheez TV. You can expect some Cease & Desist inducing homages come showtime. My favourite part of Questfest is seeing how people twist the theme. Costumes are always encouraged but a rootin-tootin 'tude is mandatory partner.

(MC)Are any of the band into fantasy games/books?
(LA)I dare you to find a metalhead who isn't! A vast swath of heavy culture is rooted in escapism so there is shared DNA. It's rare to have a conversation with Chris or Kes without them referencing Middle Earth. Matt hoards CCG, Garry is a Warhammer wiz, and let's face it – Leon is the male fantasy. We draw a lot of inspiration from media rooted in sci-fi and mythology too.

(MC) What Class would everyone be in the band in a Fantasy world scenario? Feel free to include the Triple Kill gents for some fun too.
(LA) Haha, great question! Chris could be an artificer since he spends all day 3D printing new gadgets, or maybe he's a rogue because he stays up all night watching Lockpicking Lawyer. Matt is a Wizard of the Coast with sleight of hand proficiency. Leon is a lawful good paladin, Kes is a plucky bard and I'm the tavern keeper handing out fetch quests. Triple Kill are two half-giant barbarians and three gnomes in a trenchcoat – I'll let you decide who is who.

(MC)The songs from the latest EP have been written by individuals of the band, can you explain a little about this process? How did each track come together?
(LA)For sure. Each track on Portraits was written in isolation with each member having full creative licence. It was nerve-wracking hitting play on the demo since we'd all only heard one fifth of the record. The song order and arrangements unanimously made sense; very few structural adjustments were made from first draft to master. It may have been challenging for Chris to mix but the end result is the most natural work in our catalogue.

(MC) The Portraits EP features a few guests, Andy Gillion, Jim Grey, Jukka Pelkonen to name a few, how did you come about getting these artists involved?
(LA)The wand chose the wizard. Each song was designed with specific artists in mind – people who have inspired us through our own musical journeys. I can tell you now, these folks are the real deal, going so far as to contribute musical ideas and appear in music videos. It's sublime stuff and we're very glad to have met our heroes.

(MC) Are there any Aussie artists who you would like to work with in the future, not necessarily Metal related?
(LA) Dude, it's gotta be Team Cherry or House House. Tiny but mighty game dev teams that shook the global landscape of indie gaming. They're the bees knees.

(MC) You have just released a new cover, Children of Bodom’s Hatecrew Deathroll, will this be coming into the live set or solely a video release? Why this song in particular?
(LA) You'll have to come to Questfest to find out! Finnvox Studios mastered the original Hatecrew Deathroll 20 years ago and generously mastered our tribute to the late great Alexi Laiho in turn. The track itself is a rallying cry amongst the COBHC and holds significant meaning to us both as individuals and as Orpheus Omega.

(MC) Lastly, anything in particular that is a must have on an Orpheus Tour?
(LA) Our sixth & seventh Beatles Garry & Kayne. They make us sound good and look better, never leave your house without them.

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Orpheus Omega @ Stay Gold, Melbourne 9/12/2022

As the year comes to a close, I sit here and reflect on the vast number of bands I have seen and written about in the last couple of months. What an experience it has been, multiple genres and bands from all over the world.

It then seems almost poetic and fitting for me, that my final review of the year is here at Stay Gold for the Kicking, Screaming and Live Streaming show by Melbourne’s very own Orpheus Omega.


The first thing that you notice about the opening band, Ironstone is how young they are! However, as soon as they start playing you realise that these boys have certainly spent their youthful years dedicated to developing their skills to be proficient at the progressive metal genre.

On their song, Staring at the Sun off their EP, The Place I Cannot Find, they showcased a good use of vocal harmonies and odd meter time signatures were in abundance that surely satisfied the prog fans.

It’s encouraging to see a new generation continue to push the musical boundaries and it’s gonna be interesting to see where they lead us next.


Sheathed in darkness and gilded in black war paint were Scaphis. I always love it when a band goes the extra mile to put on a show with costumes and makeup. Scaphis would have undoubtedly pleased the dark lord himself.

Blast beats, black metal-tremolo picked guitar rhythms abound and a voice straight out of the deepest recesses of Hell defiled  the stage at Stay Gold.

Yet Scaphis is more than just speed and brutality. Their songs also had segments of beautiful arpeggiated guitar lines combined with melodic leads. Vocalist Spyke, has a savagery in her performance and delivery that will turn your stomach and make your blood run cold.

Melbourne’s very own sons (and daughter) of Southern Darkness.

Andy Gillion

An 80’s synth wave sample played as drummer, Frankie Demuru teased his cymbals and the crowd. Then there he was, strutting out on stage in a glittering silver jacket, the virtuoso himself, Andy Gillion.

Backed by the formidable talents of Ryan Huthnance on guitar and Chris Themelco and Leon Monaco sharing bass duties.

The set began with the blistering, In the Arcade and 1988 off Andy’s new album, Arcade Metal.

There was plenty of fun and comedy coming from the lads on stage but make no mistake, they are no joke. This is technical ability at its highest level and an absolute masterclass for any guitarist or fan of virtuosic music. Sweeping, tapping, string-skipping and every technique under the sun were executed cleanly and precisely. However, Andy always considered in his compositions to prioritise melody and had a great ear for good phrasing.

Following this we were spellbound by  Becoming the Nightmare,

Becoming the Dream, Black Lotus and Skyless from Andy’s previous album, Neverafter.

Andy tells a story with his music and takes you on a journey with his playing. From the mystical and ethereal, to the dark and chaotic, you are transported there and back again by his imagination that is so beautifully presented before your very eyes.

It is a challenge trying to compare Andy Gillion’s music to other artists as he truly has a unique voice of his own, but I will say that his playing reminds me of Michael Romeo of Symphony X and the band Illnath, two hugely influential bands in the metal scene.

Andy Gillion truly is a special talent and Melbourne is all too keen to claim him and call him our own.

Orpheus Omega

Orpheus Omega were not only the headliners of the show but they had also organised the entire event and even managed to coordinate a live stream of the whole gig. A gargantuan task to achieve, but this tells you a lot about the kind of person Chris Themelco is. Vocalist, guitarist, bassist, organiser, audio engineer, the list goes on – and Chris excels at everything he does.

All this can only be achieved with intense passion, and that passion is exactly what you see come across when Orpheus Omega take the stage.

Together with brother, Matt Themelco on Drums, Luke Ashley on Guitar, Leon Monaco on Bass and Kes Gallagher on Keyboards and backing vocals, the boys played a phenomenal set of their newest material and fan favourites from early in their career.

Some of you eagle-eyed readers would have noticed that both Chris and Leon performed double duties and played bass with Andy Gillion in the previous set. I guess this is the epitome of do what you love.

The band plays with so much chemistry between members that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were all brothers as they harmoniously navigate their way between aggression and melody.

The call and response vocals between Chris and Kes was perfectly executed as beautiful clean lines cascaded over blood-curdling screams.

The two new tracks, Within These Walls and Edge of Forever are already crowd favourites as was evident by the voices singing along with the band.

Chris then surprised us by announcing that the 2 new songs are part of an upcoming limited edition 5 track, vinyl only EP and any band that still recognises the value of vinyl is a good egg in my book.

A few days prior to the gig the band had posted on their Facebook page telling their fans to come dressed in their best party shirts for a very special segment of the live show. Looking out across the crowd it resembled more of a Hawaiian Tiki bar than a metal gig. This was the level of dedication that the Orpheus Omega fans had.

In their final song of the night, Sealed In Fate, Chris invited everyone in a party shirt up on stage to celebrate with the band. This was a magical moment and if there was a better way to cap off the night I don’t know it. Luke Ashley and Leon Monaco stepped down from the stage and stood in the middle of a circle pit as bodies raced around them like some kind of pagan ritual. Meanwhile, I had climbed on stage myself as I watched Kes Gallagher and Matt Themelco play to a fevered pitch. I’m pretty sure the fans wouldn’t have minded the set continuing for another hour but alas, all good things must come to an end.

It is clear that Orpheus Omega draw a lot of inspiration from the Melo-death genre but they have unequivocally made it their own and in the process created something that makes me proud to say that I’m from Melbourne and that I am a fan.

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